I believe that many of you would complain that when you have to evacuate all the personal belongings before checking out from the Student Residence every year. The common room of each floor would be filled with used items, some of which may even look brand-new to you. Undoubtedly, the room for storage is limited, so how may we recycle and reuse unwanted items instead of just disposing them?
The Withdrawal Recycling Day held in the afternoon of 20 May was organised by Po Leung Kuk, the Environmental Protection Department and the Student Residence Office (SRO) of CityU to provid a perfect platform where students could leave their unwanted items to people in need. This event was held to reduce the phenomenon of waste among university students and to encourage students to carry out the “Use less, Waste less” motto in practice. The stuff collected from residents will be sent to the Sham Shui Po Green Station for distribution to the community. Acceptable items include clothes, shoes, books, daily necessities and electric appliances.
Many residents responded actively to this recycling event. It is worth mentioning that a fun Natural Anti-mosquito Brick Workshop was held by two local instructors from the Sham Shui Po community at the same time. Molds of different shapes and ingredients were prepared in advance, including water, essential oil and chemical substances.
It is not easy for university students to realise how lucky they are without worrying too much about lacking food and clothing. In fact, many of us are taken over by our “shopping desires” and bought a lot of unnecessary purchases other than necessities. One aim of this recycling event is to stimulate students in thinking of the difference between what we NEED and what we WANT through the exhibition of recycling services. Hopefully, this event could help to reduce the overbuying and waste phenomenon among university students.
Alumni Civility Hall (Hall 3) organised a Volunteer Tour to Sichuan during the Easter Holiday from 15 to 20 April 2017. Five students, Tina ZHAO (Residence Tutor, Alumni Civility Hall, Year 4, Accounting), Vincent LYU (Alumni Civility Hall, Year 2, Civil and Structural Engineering), SHENG Yixin (Alumni Civility Hall, Year 2, Public Policy & Politics), HU Zhinan (Hall 10, Year 4, Translation & Interpretation), and Najeed ALSHAKHSHIR (Alumni Civility Hall, Year 1, Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering) traveled to Chengdu together and volunteered as Panda Keepers. Here is Najeed’s sharing:
All my prior knowledge about Sichuan came from my friends’ descriptions of the place. My most prominent impression about Sichuan is its distinctive food culture: some friends have described their food as being always spicy to the point it is unbearable. Only upon invitation to the trip to Chengdu, Sichuan I have come to know of its significance for its panda conservation centers and its historic sites. Having shown at least a certain extent of interest for the aspects that made me perceive Sichuan’s character, I decided to take the chance while keeping my fingers crossed for what is hidden ahead.
The main landmark in the first day was the ancient Jinli Street. Our main aim was to try out different desserts from the food stalls and then head towards a restaurant for dinner. The most distinctive item from the food stalls was a so-called dessert seasoned with Sichuan’s chilli oil. Such an encounter is impossible in my local cuisine in Jordan where sugar is the main and the dominating ingredient. My favorite of all Sichuan desserts was the pineapple honey. As for our dinner, we have opted for a restaurant which mainly serves hotpots. I find hotpots to be a very engaging approach to gatherings. This, in my opinion, made the atmosphere of the restaurant quite interesting; it gave me the feeling that everyone was more into socializing than eating.
Days 2 & 3
Our next two days were spent in Leshan, where the main attractions are various religious sites. We visited a religious complex which encompasses the Giant Buddha as well as many other temples, some of which are even associated with other faiths. We also went to the peak of Emei Mountain, a site of particular significance to Buddhism.
The trip to Leshan was in fact my first ever visit to religious sites which are associated with other beliefs. I also had the chance to witness the practitioners of other religions firsthand. I was especially surprised to learn that some mentalities or actions can be strikingly similar between completely different faiths. There exist plenty of differences, too. In my opinion, this experience had a significant positive impact on my perception of others’ beliefs. Most importantly, similarities should be appreciated while simultaneously respecting the differences. I believe this was a remarkable experience in enriching my awareness and developing tolerance towards others.
Aside from the site visits, on the first night in Leshan, I finally got to try a hotpot with the local spicy dressings. Its distinctive spicy taste made it one of the best hotpots I have ever tried. The spiciness is sure prominent, but not in a painful way. I have had friends who previously described Sichuan as the land of the food geniuses; it indeed is!
Days 4 & 5
On the fourth day, we moved to Dujiangyan in order to volunteer at its Panda Base for two days. Throughout this period, we had three main tasks for each day. The staff would take us to our work site, which is a specific set of panda enclosures (each with its own garden!). The first task was to smash bamboo sticks in order to break them into smaller pieces; this makes it easier for the panda to consume their food. Due to the giant panda’s inefficiency in consuming the bamboo, the second task was to recover the leftover pieces of bamboo sticks and leaves from around the garden. The third task was to ensure that the panda house was kept in a good hygienic condition. This means that we also had to look for the panda’s leftovers throughout the enclosure and its garden to clean them up. Thankfully, they were not significantly odorous. After completing these three tasks, we will get the chance to observe and feed the pandas.
Since I usually had a preference for doing any work individually up until high school, this activity has given me another chance to experience the benefits of teamwork with Tina, Vincent, Yixin, and Zhinan. While it can be a curse that pandas are not part of the teamwork in reducing the mess in their enclosures, it was a blessing for having offered a very convenient environment to observe their lifestyle. There is a charm about pandas which cannot be easily described; their lazy lifestyle combined with their innocence somehow makes them adorable creatures.
In addition to panda volunteering in those two days, we also visited historic sites like the nearby ancient Dujiangyan irrigation system to know about its purpose and history. After the second day when we have completed our volunteering task, we left Dujiangyan and headed towards the museum of the Jinsha archaeological site. We were then invited to yet another hotpot restaurant by the relatives of Tina, the trip organizer. Their warm welcome and generosity made me immensely enjoy their company despite our language barrier: all what I knew in Putonghua was how to say “hello” and “thank you”, yet I was shy to do so for fear of getting the tones wrong. This was the point at which I finally realized the importance of strengthening my skills in both Putonghua and Cantonese.
Our final day in Sichuan was concluded by a visit to the Tang poet Du Fu’s thatched cottage and its museum. Since I am not proficient in Chinese yet, I mainly focused on learning about Du Fu’s life and history. Although I have gotten the impression that his life was unfortunate, I have highly respected Du Fu for his modesty, persistence and willingness to serve the people, while also taking note of the praise he got for his poetry.
The rare, special encounters of this trip made this experience memorable and fruitful. Exploring Sichuan’s cuisine and culture was definitely worth the try, where exploring its heritage has allowed me to broaden my horizons and raise my awareness and tolerance towards other cultures. Moreover, I was delighted to get the chance to observe giant pandas in addition to offering them a helping hand.
Growing vegetables, one kind of work which is nearly related to university life. Have you tried digging the soil and found earthworms wriggling into the depth? Have you tried sowing different kinds of seeds and arranged the seedling in rows? Have you tried watering the vegetables everyday and waiting for harvest eagerly?
Well, I believe such experiences are quite familiar to the Farming Buddies——our residents who devoted part of their spare time to grow vegetables at the Roofgarden of Li Dak Sum Yip Yio Chin Academic Building (AC2) under the guidance of Department of Asian and International Studies (AIS) and Mr. WONG Yu Wing of Au Law Organic Farm. On 9 Dec, the farming work for Semester A ended with a meaningful event, GROW’s Harvest Day—a vegetable donation to Mr. CHAN Cheuk-ming (Ming Gor), restaurant owner and founder of Pei Ho Counterparts, for charity purpose.
The Farming Buddies programme started in late September. The student coordinator LEI Sasa (Residence Tutor, Hall 10, Year 1, MA Integrated Marketing Communication) received an overwhelming response when the program was first open for registration. “Many students considered this program as an opportunity to possess a new life experience, as nowadays many university students born and raised in urban areas have few chances to do the farming work.” Sasa told me. Through seeding, weeding and regular watering, we finally had an exciting harvest. A large portion of vegetables was harvested and donated to Ming Gor, a well-known restaurant owner who often gives out food boxes to the homeless in Sham Shui Po.
The Farming Buddies consist of students from different residence halls and some faculty members. This program has not only enabled students to learn how much efforts it takes to grow vegetables, but also developed their spirit of teamwork. The Farming Buddies programme will continue in Semester B and hopefully, you will be able to join us!
The Fire Marshal Training Scheme I attended was held in Wong Tai Sin Fire station on 23 October. All our young Fire & Safety Marshals from the Student Residence gathered in front of the station early in the morning, looking forward to exploring the world behind the door.
We started our morning with a lecture on Fire Marshals’ responsibilities presented by the Fire Services Department. We learned that Hong Kong once witnessed tragedies due to people’s lack of awareness on fire prevention. To avoid repeating the past, the Hong Kong Government introduced the Fire Safety Ambassador Scheme to the public in 1998, aiming at raising fire safety awareness and equipping people with the basic knowledge in case of a fire. Everyone present felt the heavy responsibility on the shoulders since we all play a significant role in supporting the safety of our fellow hallmates.
The lecturer was an experienced fireman who kept us alerted and entertained with his great sense of humour. It was this lecture that made us realize how we had been risking our lives by neglecting so many dangerous factors in our daily lives (imagine yourself evacuating over a hallway full of obstacles)! We felt that we really need to convey these knowledge to our hallmates and check on our floor safety more often.
Following the lecture, we were guided to handle different kinds of fire extinguishing installations which could also be found in our residence halls. With this experience, our Fire Marshals are more confident to perform our duties in case of an emergency.
Fire prevention is a safety issue that must be carefully attended by everyone. It is important for us to learn about how to prevent a fire and how to extinguish one.
At the end, I hope to add on these following tips to help you in case there is a fire in the Student Residence:
DO NOT use the lift. Use the Emergency Stairs instead;
Try to inform your floor mates by shouting “Fire!” before you leave the building;
Inform the Security Office on G/F or call 3442-1999 for help;
Break the glass of a fire alarm and press the button;
Bring only phones and wet towels and do not waste time on bringing other valuables.
Be careful every day. What you have learned today may save a life!
Writer: Joanna CHEN (Hall 10)
Photographer: Mr. Allen KONG (Student Residence Office)
It’s been the third year Sir Gordon and Lady Ivy Wu Hall (Hall 9) takes part in Sedan Chair Race, a charity run that supports less-known charitable organizations with very limited resources to do fundraising themselves. This year, the race was held on Saturday morning, 30th of October.
The Hall 9 team was ready from early in the morning with a lot of excitement. We took the bus together to Matilda Hospital at the Peak where the race was held. Besides the runners, Dr. Yulin FANG (Residence Master, Sir Gordon and Lady Ivy Wu Hall) and his family, residence tutors and our lovely cheering team also went along to support the event. The weather was a perfect combination of cool wind and warm sunshine after a few days of heavy rain.
It has been a tradition for every runner to dress up and decorate their sedan chair in different themes. This year, our hall decided to adopt Miyazaki’s Japanese characters from Studio Ghibli: Chihiro, Haku and No-Face from Spirited Away, Totoro and Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service whereas our sedan chair was decorated as CatBus by the Hall 9 decoration team.
Mickey Jane SALIM (Year 3, Marketing Information Management), one of our runners from Hall 9, said it was her second year joining the race. “I really enjoy Sedan Chair Race. Besides having the purpose of this run for charity, everyone here looks so happy and dresses up in really creative costumes. It feels like a Halloween celebration! Moreover, it gives me a great chance to know my hallmates better because we definitely need teamwork and good coordination to carry the sedan chair.”
As soon as the race began, everyone stood by the racing path to cheer for the runners. The most exciting part was the moment when our hall won the 1st runner-up in the Andy Naylor Encouragement & Recognition of Team Effort awards. We are so proud of everyone’s involvement in this event including those who donated their money. You guys make this event unforgettable! We also want to thank our special donor, Hong Kong PHAB Association, a charity group which devoted to promote social integration and welfare services for both people with and without disabilities.
Writer: Charlotte WEN & Mickey Jane SALIM (Sir Gordon and Lady Ivy Wu Hall)
Images: Charlotte WEN & Mickey Jane SALIM (Sir Gordon and Lady Ivy Wu Hall)
Last May, Chan Sui Kau Hall held a meaningful study tour to Bangkok, Thailand. We visited Friends For All Children (FFAC), an orphanage in Bangkok, and sent can rings to the Prostheses Foundation Of H.R.H. The Princess Mother for prostheses creation.
All of us participants were determined to make a change from the very start of this trip. We tried our best to get involved in as much preparation work as possible–from handling can ring donations and encouraging residents to donate money, stationery or toys at lobby counters to the planning of voluntary services. It was especially meaningful because our entire team got to develop a better understanding of the meaning behind the trip. For most study tours or voluntary basics trips, participants only became involved to contribute during the trip. But for this project, we all found the preparation stage an excellent learning process.
I remember from the day of departure, we had to figure out ways to packed all collected toys and stationery into our luggage together as some were too large and bulky. Though it was time- and effort-consuming, we managed to pack up as much donated goods as possible, hoping to take them all to those in need.
The day we visited the orphanage was very hot. We had to carry our heavy goods to the orphanage with care. It was really exhausting. However, when we arrived and gave out those “new” toys to our 10 children, bright grins and smiles lighted up their faces by instant. It was difficult to imagine how happy they were from receiving our second-hand toys. In the orphanage, we also greeted a volunteer from UK who aimed to serve on a long-term basis. This visit had really allowed me to feel the need of the abandoned children. They obviously needed more care from the society. I was enlightened to think more about how to support passionate people in performing long-term services. I even thought of raise awareness of this situation to the government so that those abandoned children could have a better environment to grow up.
Another meaningful part of this trip was our visit to the Can Rings Donation Point. Can rings are useless to most people and are often trashed away after use. However, this tiny little thing could be a grace to the needy. As they are seldom painted, can rings make the perfect material for prosthesis. We tried to contact different parties for can rings collection as no organisations in Hong Kong provided similar services. We had received tons of can rings. It was beyond imagination. When we arrived at the Donation Point, we almost filled up their whole donation box! The emptiness of the original box indicated that the general public did not have much awareness about this type of recycling. It reminded me of how this also plays true in Hong Kong where people care more about the economics than the environment. This inspired me to think more of how to make good use of the waste we discard.
Besides voluntary works, our team also got to explore different aspects and faces of Bangkok. The most unforgettable places I visited include the Train Market and the Water Market. They were quite unique because we do not have them in Hong Kong. While there are also many special and attractive places for us to explore in Hong Kong, we do not always have the time, mood and space allowing us to enjoy our environment as much as we did in Bangkok.
In conclusion, Thailand is a good place for students to visit. The living expenses in Thailand are relatively low which is affordable to most university students. I hope that I can have more meaningful trips like this around the world. Travelling is always a good way to learn if you are willing to contribute yourself and explore the cultures around you.
Writer: Andy WONG (former Residence Tutor, Chan Sui Kau Hall)
Images: Andy WONG (former Residence Tutor, Chan Sui Kau Hall)
今年五月，陳瑞球堂舉行了一次前往泰國曼谷的考察團，別具意義。我們不但到景區觀光，還到曼谷探訪孤兒院Friends For All Children（FFAC），並把罐頭環送去慈善機構The Prostheses Foundation of H.R.H. the Princess Mother循環再造造義肢。